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Symbolism - Blood In Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Symbolism-Blood In Shakespeare's Macbeth In Shakespeare's Macbeth the symbol of blood is used to represent honor, bravery, treason, murder and guilt! The symbol of blood is continuously developed until it becomes the dominating theme of the play. The word "blood," or different forms of it appear forty-two times, throughout the play. Perhaps the best way to show how the symbol of blood changes during the development of the play, is to follow the character changes in Macbeth. At first Macbeth is heralded as brave and honorable, but as the play progresses, he becomes a treacherous person who is identified with death and bloodshed, and shows his guilt in many different forms! The first reference of blood is one of honor, and occurs when Duncan sees the injured sergeant and says "What bloody man is that?".(1.2, 1), This quote is symbolic of the brave fighter who had been injured during the battle for his country. In the next passage the Captain says " . . ...read more.


When Macbeth is speaking about Malcolm and Donalbain, he refers to them as "bloody cousins." The other way, and perhaps the more vivid use of the symbol blood, is for the theme of guilt. First Macbeth hints at his guilt when he says "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?"(2.2, 79-80), meaning that he wondered if he would ever be able to forget the horrifying deed that he had committed. Then the ghost of Banquo, all gory, and bloody haunts Macbeth at the banquet. The sight of apparitions represents his guilt for the murder of Banquo which he planned. Macbeth shows a bit of his guilt when he says "It is the bloody business which informs thus,"(2.1,58-59), he could not gather up the courage to say murder after he had killed Duncan, so he uses this line instead. Lady Macbeth shows the most vivid example of guilt using the symbol of blood in the scene in which she walks in her sleep. ...read more.


Of which, Macduff replies, "I have no words, my voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain than terms can give thee out."(5.8, 8-10). He is saying that his actions with his sword will do his speaking for him and that Macbeth is the worst of all villains! After the death of Macbeth at the hands of Macduff, the symbolic theme of blood swings back to what it was at the beginning of the play. It is the symbol of honor to Malcolm this time. The death of Macbeth is a honored feat that Macduff is congratulated for. So as we have seen meaning of the symbol of blood change throughout the play from honor to treachery, and then to guilt, after this, it returns back to the symbolic meaning of honor once again. This could only occur after the villain that changed the meaning from honor to treachery is killed. Due to these many changes, it has been proved that the symbol of blood has many different meanings which can be attributed to it, and the theme of the novel throughout the course of this historic play. ...read more.

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